Sophie builds career in construction while demolishing stereotypes
10 May 2023
Sophie from Barnet is smashing disability and gender stereotypes after starting work on a construction site. The deaf 25-year-old is thrilled to have found a role as a traffic marshal thanks to help from the Government’s Restart Scheme, delivered in Central and West London by Ingeus.
Sophie said: “I am severely deaf, but I have never allowed my hearing to affect me or stop me doing things.”
Sophie, who has previously carried out voluntary gardening work, had already completed a construction course. She gained a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card which gives evidence of competence as a construction worker to potential employers. Yet she was struggling to find paid employment and joined the Restart Scheme following a Jobcentre Plus referral.
“Ingeus staff are the kindest people,” said Sophie. “I communicated with my phone in hearing aid mode, text and email, and visited my advisor in person every two weeks where I was able to lip read.”
Ingeus helped Sophie build a CV, sent her on an interview course and showed her how to use iWorks, Ingeus' online career portal. It gives 24-hour access to a personalised package of online tools to help participants apply for jobs, take courses and practise interviewing. They highlighted suitable jobs and applied for various roles on her behalf.
She was thrilled to land the perfect role as a traffic marshal.
“I facilitate the movement of heavy vehicles on site such as large trucks and cranes,” she explained. “I also control the traffic and ensure pedestrians are safe.”
Sophie is proud to be one of several people with disabilities on site as well as a woman in a mostly male environment.
“It can feel daunting to be a female working with lots of men, but you quickly get used to it and I find it enjoyable working with all types of people,” she added.
“I am also very proud to have hearing difficulties and to prove it can’t stop you doing what you want to do.”
She is thrilled to be employed and very grateful to Ingeus, who also paid for two pairs of work boots.
“Ingeus is absolutely fantastic and the staff never give up on you,” she said. “Going from being unemployed to employed has given me so much purpose and it is nice to be in a routine.”
Sophie, a keen footballer, hopes to learn more skills at work in the future such as forklift truck-driving and bricklaying.
Sophie’s Restart Advisor Mo said: “It was a privilege to support Sophie into employment – she embodies so many Ingeus values, she is committed and engaging, a lovely, respectful person with a good attitude to working.
“She takes pride in herself, she attended all her appointments and believed in the Restart Scheme staff who supported her.”
Commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, Ingeus is the lead provider of the Restart Scheme in Greater Manchester and Central and West London. It also partners with Serco, to support the Restart Scheme in Central West Midlands.